Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 32: Lukaku Inspires Inter Comeback

Last Sunday, many expected a new champion to be crowned, especially when Inter surged back to beat Lazio. But although the celebrations at the Maradona Stadium were halted, it was still a weekend to remember in Calcio. The action was thrilling, the outcomes were unexpected and the goals were splendid. All in all, it was a glorious mess. So let’s recap the most captivating events of the Italian weekend in the Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 32.

Top (Player): Romelu Lukaku

Following several appearances in the Flop section, Romelu Lukaku is making up for lost time. It all started last week with a personal brace and an assist against Empoli.

While he didn’t manage to put his name on the scoresheet this weekend, his brilliant display against Lazio was arguably even more vital, inspiring a come-from-behind in a direct showdown for Champions League spots.

The Belgian unleashed his partner in crime Lautaro Martinez with a clever through ball before setting up the winner for Robin Gosens with a jaw-dropping cross towards the far post.

Big Rom couldn’t have timed his “comeback” any better.

Flop (Player): Andrea Pinamonti

On the other hand, here’s a striker who didn’t enjoy a good weekend. Sassuolo manager Alessio Dionisi introduced the player in the second half hoping for goals, but he apparently lashed out at the match official with some unpleasant words which warranted his dismissal.

The 23-year-old’s abysmal outing in Round 32 depicts what has been a forgettable campaign on a personal level.

Top (Manager): Vincenzo Italiano

This season, Vincenzo Italiano found himself on the receiving end of some harsh criticism. Nevertheless, the Fiorentina manager has hit his stride at the right time, leading his side to the Coppa Italia final and Conference League semis, all while improving the team’s league form.

On Sunday, the Viola reserved no mercy for the sinking Sampdoria, handing them a 5-0 beating at the Artemio Franchi.

Flop (Manager): Maurizio Sarri

In Sunday’s early kickoff, Felipe Anderson gave Lazio the lead at the Giuseppe Meazza, a goal that could have paved the way to victory for the capital side.

However, the Biancocelesti were massively outplayed by a brilliant Inter side, while Maurizio Sarri couldn’t find any tactical solutions in his touchline duel against Simone Inzaghi.

Admittedly, the Nerazzurri boss has a bigger variety of weapons at his disposal, but the Biancocelesti’s hollow second-half display remains inexplicable.

Top (Team): Inter

Even though Inter had to wait for a relatively late stage to score their first goal, this was one of the best team displays witnessed this season. The Nerazzurri dominated the encounter against Lazio and could have scored at least another three.

Eventually, it was Lukaku who inspired the comeback, while Lautaro Martinez and Robin came off the bench to score three goals between them and turn the result upside-down.

Flop (Team): Sampdoria

There was a point in the middle of the campaign where Sampdoria were trying hard to pick up the points but were defied by Lady Luck. Nowadays, Dejan Stankovic and his boys have obviously resigned to their fate.

The Blucerchiati currently sit at the bottom of the Serie A table, and the 0-5 demolition they suffered in Round 32 is a further confirmation for their inevitable relegation to Serie B.

Top (Goalkeeper): Lukasz Skorupski

For one reason or another, Lukasz Skorupski never quite received the plaudits that he deserves. Yet, the Bologna custodian often reminds us of his great prowess between the sticks, and this was the case again on Sunday night.

The 31-year-old frustrated Juventus who were desperate for a victory in Round 32 to solidify their spot in the Serie A table. He denied his compatriot Arkadiusz Milik from the spot, with a relatively easy stop, and pulled off a scintillating double save against Nicolò Fagioli.

Flop (Penalty): Arkadiusz Milik

Speaking of Milik’s penalty kick, what a dreadful effort that was!

The Pole made a complete mess out of his spot kick, sporting that Jorginho-like jump before sending a feeble effort to the middle.

Good thing he managed to atone himself by scoring the equalizer for Juventus in the second half.

Flop (Goalkeeper): Vanja Milinkovic-Savic

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic is as solid as they come, but it’s never a good day for a goalkeeper when he concedes twice from acute angles, especially one who possesses an immense frame.

While Duvan Zapata’s winner had great power and precision behind it, getting beaten at his near post by Davide Zappacosta is less justifiable.

In the end, Atalanta picked up a slim 2-1 win in Turin, leaving the Granata goalkeeper with a couple of regrets.

Top (Super-Sub): Domenico Berardi

We mentioned Dionisi’s ill-fated bet (Andrea Pinamonti) above, but the Sassuolo manager did have a winning card up his sleeve.

Even with his side reduced to 10 men, Domenico Berardi still guided the Emilians to a remarkable comeback against Empoli. He leveled the score with a mouth-watering volley, before winning a penalty that he converted himself.

The enigmatic star continues to solidify his legacy as the all-time greatest Neroverdi player.

Flop: Premature Scudetto Celebrations

Following Inter’s victory over Lazio, the stage was set for a Scudetto party at the Maradona Stadium. Luciano Spalletti’s men “only” had to beat their Campanian rivals Salernitana to be officially crowned as Italian champions.

So when Mathias Olivera nodded home the opener, the city erupted in jubilant celebrations as their first league title in 33 years was only half an hour away. At that point, maintaining focus and composure must have been an incredibly daunting task for the players on the pitch.

Yet, the football gods treated us all to another lesson – the most primitive of lessons, one would add: It’s not over until the final whistle.

When Boulaye Dia placed his exquisite strike in Alex Meret’s far corner, you could almost feel the exultation escaping the arena, or rather the whole city.

Sooner or later, Napoli will lift their long-coveted Scudetto, but the disappointment of Serie A Round 32 will sting for a few days at least.

Top (Goal): Nicolò Cambiaghi

This weekend featured several worthy contenders for the Goal of the week, including volleys from Berardi, Gosens and Gaetano Castrovilli.

Nonetheless, Nicolò Cambiaghi’s outrageous solo effort gets the nod. The Empoli youngster won the ball back inside his own half before launching a glorious run towards the box. He dribbled past a couple of Sassuolo defenders before beating Andrea Consigli with a well-executed low drive.

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